Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Wednesday 5th November 2008

Off with a bang!

OK, a nice early start to today's diary has me keying in this at 7.30hrs. Yesterday I managed to find a couple of minutes to look skywards at work, and this produced at least one House Martin still hawking insects above the buildings. I suspect there were more, but I just didn't have the time to look! A quick look over the seafront at Exmouth during a much-reduced lunchtime period gave me tantalising distant views of a very small duck, which was all-dark. Trouble was, it was just too far out to identify, even with my trusty telescope. But, it was very small, especially in size comparison with the nearby Shags. One that got away.............

Back to today, and I was driving to work at 6.40 when one of the numerous local Buzzards nearly flew into my windscreen in the growing light. Mid morning, staring out of the office window (wishing I was out there), and a House Martin is wheeling around down towards the edge of the Exe estuary, so they still haven't gone south yet.

Lunchtime today was taken rather late, but I zipped up the road to Bowling Green Marsh at Topsham. Parking the car at the top of the lane, I ambled quietly down and watched a large tit flock moving through the trees. A couple of Goldcrests were with this flock, but I couldn't find anything more interesting. Still, I had super views of Long-tailed Tits, some being only a few feet away. Arriving at the hide along the lane, I had time to sit there for twenty minutes or so and peruse the birds in front of me. The Canada Goose flock was not excessive thank goodness, so a few more wildfowl could feed undisturbed. The flock contained three semi-feral Greylag Geese. A Little Grebe was diving out on the main pool, and a nice flock of 67 Lapwing were dozing poolside! One Common Snipe was showing right out in the open. I wonder how many more were out there hidden behind vegetation clumps! I strolled along to the viewing platform that looks out over the River Clyst. From here I saw a large number of Avocets feeding on the mud exposed by the receding tide (about 150+), a solitary Grey Plover right under the platform, a Greenshank which flew downriver with lots of Redshank and a group of Red-breasted Merganser diving in the channel. All too soon it was time to get back to the car, so I retraced my steps along the lane, seeing a male Stonechat in the "log layby" and wondered just how many Blackbirds there were in the area. An overnight fall must have occurred - they were everywhere! I checked them all in case anything rarer was lurking, but to no avail. Up to 4 Jays were flying backwards and forwards over the area as well.

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